Fire Jim Tracy

Friday, December 03, 2004

Andy Van Slyke Explains Circumstantial Evidence to the Ignorant Layperson

"Unequivocally, he's taken them. ... I can say that with utmost certainty. Now, I never saw him put it into his body. But, look, Barry went to the bank with the robber, he drove the car, he got money in his pocket from the bag that came out of the bank. Come to your own conclusion. Did he spend the money?

You decide. I think he did."

Former Bonds teammate Andy Van Slyke to Sporting News Radio

UPDATE: Looking back on the time period that covered the Andro stuff in the wake of McGwire's reign of terror, every article I read talked about "banning" Andro but instituting a steroid "testing policy." This is very weak evidence, but I still believe that MLB had a formal ban instituted and no way to find out who would be doing steroids (unless there was someone arrested for drug charges outside of MLB -- like Steve Howe). The point being that MLB could have acted against someone who was, say, convicted of ingesting anabolic steroids even though it had no self-policing mechanism in place. I will accept proof of this one way or the other, but until then, the idea that there was no "rule" in place against steroids is not legitimate.

UPDATE 2: Tom Verducci says "[B]oth of them have implicated themselves in a time frame in which there was no penalty phase of steroids testing in Major League Baseball. You can't retroactively apply rules of the game now to 2003 and 2001, so officially I don't expect their records are going to be touched. " He also states that "The only way they might be disciplined is if they are convicted in court or plead guilty to something." But would that be because they did steroids (we're way past knowingly people. Wake up.) or a more amorphous concept of "in the best interests of the game?" If the latter, it still doesn't necessarily suggest there was no rule broken -- the rule that was broken in that case is that players should act in the best interest of the game. But I still find it hard to believe that MLB "allowed" steroids in any meaningful sense. There's also the issue of whether MLB gets to act as an island unto itself in contravention of Federal Law. I already know the FBI's answer to that one.

I don't expect that their records would have been touched anyway. But the reason why is based on consent theory. It was obvious that Bonds and others were on steroids; players didn't revolt; they didn't even force their union to implement any meaningful sort of testing. Had the Giants beaten the Angels, one reason why would have been the lack of outrage that many players have shown, which led to no changes in the system, which suggests that they must be "Keeping up with the Joneses."

Which leads to another thing that's wrong with the "Jeremy Giambi" argument. To expect those opposed to steroid use to list every single player every time steroids comes up is ridiculous. Barry Bonds, we all recognize, is the tip of a very large iceberg. But when we're talking about him, we're talking about Jeremy Giambi, Benito Santiago (I'm still in shock. It's not like his face broke out, he looked like the statue of David, and he hit 20 home runs at age 52. Or did he?) This is a huge MLB problem. But just because column inches aren't devoted to Jeremy Giambi doesn't mean that it isn't recognized. That, in fact, would only be superfluous.

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